Broken Promises

John Ruberry, the Marathon Pundit, just did some actual reporting about the veterans’ scholarship scandle at the University of Illinois.

This didn’t sound like much of a story when I first heard about it. The University of Illinois had offered 110 scholarships to Illinois veterans for the night MBA program in downtown Chicago. A bunch of veterans were accepted and received confirmation letters. Later, however, the University cancelled a lot of those scholarships, accepting only 37 of them.

Some people seemed to be trying to spin this into an example of anti-military attitudes in academia, but having worked at a university for a while, it sounded to me like a typical foul-up. The academic side of academia works best when it is very decentralized, with each department making staffing and curriculum decisions on its own. The administrative work, however, requires rigorous standards and careful attention to detail, and departments get themselves into trouble when they try to cut corners. It sounded like the department that runs the night MBA program had promised something that the rules wouldn’t allow it to deliver.

Now that John Ruberry has delved into the story a bit, including an interview with one of the principles, it’s sounding a lot shadier than I thought:

What happened next is shocking. Ghosh, DeBrock, Admissions Dean Sandy Frank and Ikenberry decided to take matters into their own hands. So they got a copy of the admissions database from the Executive MBA program, studied it, and in an ex post facto manner, put in new procedural deadlines for the completion of application materials in order to reduce the number of military veterans in the program.

They basically looked at military candidates’ application data and came up with new deadlines that they knew military candidates hadn’t met. Sort of like betting on a horse a couple days after the race…or moving the goalpoast before a field goal attempt.

Read the whole thing.

13 Responses to Broken Promises

  1. Windypundit – good comment. Yes, some times University departments can do things on their own. In this case, however, not only did the Dean know and approve the scholarship plan, but it went all the way up the chain of command to the Board.

    By the way, the Associated Press released the story today… Army Times is covering it, too. You can read about it at http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/03/apvetscholarship070312/.

    First of all, please understand I love U of I and hope this situation gets fixed. I had a blast in my job and loved the work. This is really a case of just a few grown men acting badly and not having the guts to stand up and say “sorry” and be accountable. Their story reminds me of listening to excuses from my teenager about what happened on a late Friday night… the story keeps growing and growing and excuses keep getting stranger and stranger until the truth finally comes out. Eventually, someone will fess up down there and come clean.

    Doing dumb things isn’t illegal or necessarily unethical. The heart of my lawsuit against U of I isn’t about the 110 scholarships, per se, but the way in which the Dean and others went about trying to exclude vets and discriminate against them. For example, I don’t think any of your readers would appreciate a letter being sent out with their signature cut and pasted from another source! I wrote a letter of protest to the Dean in May, and when the heat got turned up on him and others by public officials, things went south for me. What I wonder – since the President and Board knew about this last May – why they didn’t take action. I think I know why, but that’s another story for another day.

    You raised some good points and I’ll give you my best answers to help clarify.

    The scholarship program for 110 full-ride scholarships was coordinated between Chicago (me) and Champaign administration and approved by the Dean as well as College and University Public Relations in writing. It took several months of planning, in fact, and came on the heels of an unsuccessful partial scholarship program in 2005. The 2006 program had been in the works a long time and planning was extensive. The scholarship required a change in our accounting definition for “tuition” that was approved by the Dean, Provost Office, Chancellor’s Office and Board of Trustees prior to launch. Our PR groups at U of I even coordinated with press officers from Congressman Emanuel and Lt. Gov. Quinn’s office to help craft their press releases in support. I just wanted you to know that campus – Dean, PR, and members of the Provost and Chancellor’s office – knew the details of this scholarship program since 2005 and approved it.

    The public doesn’t know a couple things.

    First, Illinois law (23 ILLINOIS ADMINISTRATIVE CODE CH. XIX, SEC. 2733.10) gives veterans full tuition at any of over 20 schools in Illinois whether the schools like it or not. The schools involved gets state taxpayer funding and additional state and federal research funding, so there’s a sense with our political leaders that they have an obligation to do their fair share with veterans. Quoting from ILCS – “As described in this Part, eligible Illinois Veteran Grant (IVG) recipients are entitled to be exempt from paying tuition and certain fees at Illinois public postsecondary institutions. If appropriated Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) funds are insufficient to reimburse institutions for all eligible recipients, the obligation to pay is transferred to the institution.” Bottom line – veterans’ education is our responsibility as a state university. This comes from Illinois state law, not me.

    So, here’s the rub. When I first learned of the Dean’s objections in May, he wrote me with concern that IVG would not fund at the same level as the year before and wanted the 110 scholarship number cut back and more non-military students enrolled. Aside from the obvious issues of common sense and betrayal of the public trust, I believed this to be in direct contravention of Illinois law regarding the IVG program.

    Second, IVG has been under-funded by the State of Illinois for a few years, but funded at the same level from FY 2002-2006 – about $19.25 million. IVG pays less each year because of tuition increases charged by the universities and community colleges that receive IVG benefits. That’s a catch-22 situation: U of I complains about the level of reimbursement but keeps charging more for tuition. The Illinois Board of Higher Education reported the same conclusion in December 2006:

    “Changes in the number of recipients do not account for the steady increase in the cost of the tuition and fee benefits. While the number of IVG and ING recipients increased only 2.1 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2006, the amount waived per student for IVG and ING grants increased over 52 percent. Increases in tuition and fee charges largely account for the increases in program costs.”

    U of I expected – and the Dean confirmed this via email to several people – that he expected IVG to reimburse us for about 70% of our $74,000 tuition (that’s the highest tuition of any school participating in IVG) and we would pick up the remaining 30%. The way this works in the real world is we get 70% of the $74,000 and eat the rest. Not bad, considering that 70% of $74,000 is still way more than U of I gets for their regular MBA program in Champaign. Even if IVG paid out 60% of $74,000, this would still be more than the College receives for its in-residence MBA program in Champaign. Given that the Chicago operation had lost money – 7 figures – since it moved from Champaign to Chicago in 2003, putting 110 students in the seats at $50K/each was not only good for veterans but good for the College’s finances.

    You questioned whether U of I was anti-military. In this instance, I have to say that while most people I knew at U of I were staunchly anti-war, most of them were pro-soldier and pro-veteran. The real issue is that my boss and other key people didn’t think much of their academic capabilities, but that’s just a case of a few people being not informed. Most of the veterans that applied to the program had distinguished themselves in both military and corporate careers. Many graduated from the military academies. I’ve taught at Kellogg and Chicago and also ran a couple companies and hired people, and I can tell you that the military veterans I met through this experience have the leadership, skills and discipline that match up with the best I’ve seen in academia and the corporate world anywhere. By the way, U of I really owes a lot to veterans. The GI Bill gave life to Champaign’s finances in 1946 and the UIC campus originated at Navy Pier in Chicago. This is where Navy fighter pilots trained, including George HW Bush.

    Most of what I’ve written to you above is documented in exhibits attached to my lawsuit with the Court of Claims. My motivation is to get the U of I to honor their commitment without equivocation and stop messing around with technicalities and reverse-engineering program requirements after the fact. I hope someone in the administration down there cleans up the mess and the University can move on to become a leader on the issue of veterans’ education and see it as an opportunity in the best interests and traditions of U of I. There is a bigger issue, however.

    Most of my time isn’t spent on this issue with U of I. I’ve been working the past six months on a not-for-profit business plan and legislative proposal to fix the veterans’ education problem generally. Look, if a flagship public university like U of I has problems with veterans’ education, chances are this is going to be a much bigger issue down the road with a host of other schools. So, the real issue is how we deal as a society – government, universities, business community – with the flood of veterans who will be coming home soon. I’m old enough to remember what happened after Vietnam and we need to be taking steps to proactively address the huge gap in veterans’ education benefits/programs now. It’s a Walter Reed problem in the making.

    The real issue, in my view, is recognizing who veterans really are as advanced adult learners. They are not the 18-year old freshman from Naperville who lives in a dorm with his/her friends. The challenge we face is architecting educational products appropriate for them in terms of content, instructional design and logistical delivery consistent with their substantial technical, business and leadership experience. I’m encouraging people to view the veterans’ education issue not as a benefit program we owe them for military service (even though we do), but rather an opportunity for the business community to benefit from their extraordinary talent and skills just like we experienced after WWII.

    Cheers,

    Robert

  2. Cheers, Robert!
    First of all, the point about the IVG funding is that whether or not the State paid 70% or 60%, the college would still have to pay the rest, while a student not on a grant would bring in money, which, unfortunately, is a concern of all universities since they use that money to finance programs. So, it has less to do with whether the financing is coming from the IVG or the University’s other public funds, and more to do with the need to finance a university program from student payment. Also, it seems like your bosses were more than happy to include veterans to thier means, they just couldn’t triple the size of thier program in a year with insufficient funds. Obviously the administrators are not prejudiced against veterans, otherwise they would not have started the IVG partnership in the first place.
    I was a student in Urbana and have heard–and read postings at the dailyillini website–from EMBA students and friends that make it sound like the program is better without you anyway, and totally discredit your accusations about the character of the program’s staff. It sounds like you are championing the Veterans’ cause for personal gain.

  3. See this lastest blog by Marathon Pundit about hookers, soldiers and professors. Amazing and sick – http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html#6193164541294611316

    I am one of Larry DeBrock’s high priced hookers.

    I taught for the College of Business at U of I in the Executive MBA program in Chicago and the MBA program in Urbana for several years. I’m teaching at another university now, but am well aware of this situation and have worked with all the players involved in this sad situation.

    First, it is appalling that Larry DeBrock, an Associate Dean, referred to me and my colleagues as “high-priced hookers” (http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html#6193164541294611316) who would be “praised as soldiers… cheered by smiling faculty waving UIUC flags lining the roadside” if we earned enough money for the College.

    These are deplorable, reprehensible words from the same man who denied calling veterans “jarheads.”

    Even more shocking is Larry’s comparison of faculty members, so-called “high priced hookers,” with soldiers. Not only has Larry brought dishonor to the College and University but also Illinois soldiers and veterans.

    I hope that UIUC Chancellor Richard Herman holds him accountable, just like he condemned the hate speech of students recently. Anything less is a double standard.

    Second, University and College officials are misrepresenting and slanting events surrounding the veterans scholarship situation to deflect responsibility. While I don’t know for sure if Bob Vander Hooning is telling the truth about the “jarhead” comment he says Larry and others made against veterans, I do remember the day Bob told me about it and the plan to cut veterans’ scholarships from 110 to 15.

    This is not the first time that ethical misconduct has surfaced at the College of Business.

    Probably the biggest issue of concern with faculty the past few years has been the deterioration of our MBA program and fraudulent reporting of inflated GMAT test scores to the ranking services. GMAT scores of MBA programs are one of the major criteria used by ranking agencies like US News, Business Week, Forbes, Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. Rather than reporting GMAT scores of matriculated students only, Avijit and Mary Miller, the Associate Dean for the MBA Program he hired, used GMAT scores of all admitted applicants whether they ever set foot in Urbana.

    This is cheating – the academic equivalent of steroids and home run records.

    It is also disturbing that admissions criteria and admissions committee members were changed in the middle of a graduate program’s admissions process and Bob’s signature was forged on a letter. Trust me, this is taboo in academia. It’s even more disturbing that veterans who applied and waited patiently for admission were told the program was full while civilian candidates were recruited on the side and admitted in their place.

    And based on what I’ve read about David Ikenberry’s denials of knowledge or involvement, clearly disproved by his own email that paints a clear picture of how senior College officials schemed to discriminate against veterans, a whole lot of people are doing a whole lot of lying (http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html#748390460444581746).

    I wonder who at the University is pulling the strings behind the scenes. This would never have been tolerated under President Stukel. It is common knowledge that U of I’s new President, Joe White, was a friend of Avijit who led the Presidential Search Committee that nominated him for his job. The conflict of interest is palpable. I expected more from President White.

    I’ve read the College’s rationalization that they didn’t have enough space or professors to teach in Chicago. This is pure Hogwash. But I do have another explanation: Urbana’s presence in Chicago, UIC’s home turf, was a time bomb just waiting to go off.

    The Executive MBA Program moved from Urbana to Chicago in 2003 and had a track record of problems and financial losses. The relocation was, by most accounts, Avijit’s unilateral decision and against the wishes of most College faculty, students and alumni. It became a sore spot that never went away. So in a very real sense, the seeds of this program’s destruction were sown early.

    Soon after the program’s relocation, Bob was hired to “fix Chicago.” This was an impossible job because only a handful of professors wanted to travel from Champaign to Chicago to teach.

    It took Bob a couple months to ruffle some tenured professorial feathers on main campus. He did an audit of the existing EMBA program and found serious irregularities which he shared with a number of faculty members, including myself. The academic power brokers at the College, which included Larry DeBrock, reported the EMBA program had about 550 classroom instructional hours. However, after Bob’s audit, the actual number of instructional hours turned out to be 100 hours less than advertised.

    Now this may not be a big deal to the casual reader, but reporting inaccurate and inflated numbers to prospective students, the University’s Graduate College and ranking agencies is a mortal sin in the academic world (like reporting inflated GMAT scores). Bob discovered it, flagged it, and insisted that the College actually teach the number of hours it promised. This meant longer hours for faculty in Chicago and it upset a number of tenured professors. Bob also weeded out some professors, who let’s just say, were communication-challenged. Bob’s actions put people on edge. He wasn’t “playing along.”

    There’s an important political dimension as well between the Urbana-Champaign campus and UIC in Chicago. I talked with friends in Urbana and at UIC and found out that the issue about which Larry wrote Bob in his “hookers” email actually referred to a new part-time MBA program that would be held at Allstate’s corporate headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. UIC ran this program for 10 years but Allstate wanted to make a change. Evidently, Bob arranged for the use of this facility, formerly the executive education training center for one of Chicago’s major consulting firms, Anderson Consulting.

    Now here’s where things get political. Friends at UIC told me that Avijit spoke at UIC in early 2006 and announced he was going to start a part-time MBA program in the suburbs with our without UIC’s help. I heard from UIC that Larry met Allstate executives with Bob to discuss the new program and learned that UIC was being given the boot. UIC’s reaction was harsh and swift. The timing coincided with Avijit’s change of heart on the veterans scholarship program which would have doubled Urbana-Champaign’s presence in UIC’s backyard. Ouch.

    Clearly, if the College had enough professors to teach in a second MBA program in Chicago in Northbrook, they had enough professors to teach a second section of EMBAs in Chicago, too. The faculty nearly choked when they heard they might have to make additional trips to Chicago to teach in additional programs, and saw the money-losing programs in Chicago and Urbana as Ghosh’s problem to solve, not theirs.

    Regarding the alleged space shortage at the Illini Center, there were 3 classrooms – “A”, “B” and “C” – and additional space on the same floor (the Illinois Room) that could have been retrofitted as well. I heard the plan to accommodate additional students in the veterans scholarship program hinged on moving a wall of classroom “C” about 30 feet so that 20-25 accountants in a Tax program could continue to sit at circular tables instead of traditional rows (um, a little spoiled?). This would have allowed the EMBA program to use classrooms “A” and “B” with a seating capacity of 120-150 people. Why 20-25 accountants need to sit in a classroom three times larger than necessary is beyond me. The same program, which is run in Urbana as well, uses traditional seating. Maybe Chicago accountants need more elbow room.

    And if “C” couldn’t be modified, there was space on the first floor of the same building, options to lease additional floors in the same building or space at Allstate or other corporate partners in Chicago in the short term. The College is using space as an excuse, but it is not a reason. This space issue is a matter of will, not physics. And where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    Another reason stated against admitting the 110 veterans was that the College didn’t have enough professors to teach them. That’s not even close to true, and I have no idea why the College would say this. There are nearly 200 professors who teach at the College. Many of them were qualified and 95% of them could have used the money. Several colleagues told me they were offered the opportunity to teach two sections, back to back, for double pay, and were more than happy to do so. That’s a year’s wages for most families earned in 8-10 days of work. Now even though I didn’t like traveling to Chicago, the prospect of earning a double paycheck, as long as I was already there, was like double presents on Christmas morning.

    Regardless, if Urbana faculty didn’t want to make the drive, Chicago is a big town and I’m confident a number of highly qualified professors, part-time professors or adjunct professors could have been hired locally just like had been done in the past.

    There were two reactions to the news Bob suddenly left the EMBA program – relief and disbelief. The real truth is something nobody wants to talk about in Urbana.

    There was relief from Faculty who didn’t want the inconvenience of driving to Chicago. There was a group that demanded limousine service from Urbana as a condition for teaching in Chicago. Some College professors are, let’s just say, high maintenance.

    There was disbelief because Bob was just promoted and publicly praised a month before his departure. Other College faculty accused of sexual harassment and theft were treated better than Bob and still work at the College. While Avijit and Bob were polar opposites of each other, there was never a whiff of a problem between them until we heard Avijit blamed Bob for the veterans’ scholarship problem.

    There could also have been a political wildcard at play. At the same time the veterans scholarship program was being dismantled, key faculty had political leverage on Avijit. He was at their mercy for his 5-year performance review and there were a lot of gripers who felt, for reasons stated earlier, that the College was heading in the wrong direction. The same people who would be asked to teach in Chicago were key influencers in Avijit’s 5-year review. It’s quite possible some backroom dealing doomed the veterans scholarship program and threw Bob under the bus as the scapegoat for others’ unscrupulous behavior.

    Despite the obvious politics involved, this situation should have been handled much differently.

  4. U OF I LOSES ROUND #1 IN VETERAN SCHOLARSHIP SCANDAL – CASE GOING TO COURT

    I got my BA and law degree from U of I and work in Springfield and Chicago. I heard about this veteran scholarship mess at an alumni event from my boss, also a U of I alum, who is working on legislation to fix the Illinois Veteran Grant Program. He asked me to check it out, so I got a copy of the lawsuit filed against U of I and its response at the Court of Claims.

    This is sick stuff and a lot deeper than a simple lawsuit.

    U of I filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit and lost. The case is going to Court in Chicago a month from now. No matter who wins and loses, it shows a dark side of U of I that disturbs me more than the Chief issue, since this involves veterans who gave years of their life in service to our country. Initially, I was doubtful about the story since I knew most of the principals involved from fundraising and alumni events. Basically, U of I just denied everything through their press people, blamed others and proclaimed their innocence. Blanket denials and blame-shifting are usually good signs that something is wrong. Then I read the lawsuit, the exhibits in the case and U of I’s response. U of I – what in the WORLD were you thinking?

    Included in the lawsuit are 20 actual emails, letters and documents authored by senior U of I officials that show intentional discrimination against veterans in favor of non-veterans and a juvenile scheme to renege on a promise. Stories in the Associated Press, Daily Illini and blogs documented events about 90 percent right, but the level of detailed planning that devised the discrimination really surprised me. U of I denies wrongdoing, of course, but it’s going to be hard for them to run away from hard evidence found in their own emails, letters and documents that they put in black and white.

    Why U of I documented their scheme in writing is beyond stupid and shows a dark side I didn’t know existed. One of the lawsuit’s exhibits shows an email from College of Business Dean, Avijit Ghosh, in which he argues to cut back the 110 scholarships because of reduced cash flow (reimbursement) from the Illinois Veteran Grant program. Others show Ghosh and others crunching numbers in a scheme to get rid of veterans by shortening admissions deadlines AFTER veterans applied and were admitted. But it gets worse. After kicking the veterans out and telling other veterans that the program was full, they recruited non-veterans to take their place. Rather than take responsibility for their actions, they forged the signature of the guy Ghosh fired, Robert VanderHooning, on a letter written by Associate Dean Larry DeBrock to kick veterans out.

    Several exhibits in the lawsuit show a bungled coverup by senior U of I officials, including Associate Dean Larry DeBrock, David Ikenberry, UIC Chancellor Sylvia Manning and, most shocking of all, President Joseph White. How UIC got involved in this mess is hard to understand since VanderHooning worked for the Champaign campus.

    Political coverups can be dangerous. My fear for U of I is that eventually the facts of this mess will shine an uncomfortable light on President White, Manning, Ghosh and others and tarnish U of I as an institution. For example, how can President White explain why, after receiving a strongly-worded protest letter from US Congressman Emanuel, he asked UIC Chancellor Sylvia Manning, not UIUC Chancellor Richard Herman, to hear VanderHooning’s ethics complaint? How can White explain why he scheduled a meeting with VanderHooning after Manning’s interview, then cancelled it, but first gave a heads up to his friend Ghosh who not only was VanderHooning’s boss but led the Presidential Search Committee that got White his $450,000 job. U of I has a Chief Ethics Officer and a process to investigate ethics problems, but White circumvented the university’s own procedures and tipped off his friend. That’s an odd procedure for an ethics investigation and a conflict of interest if I ever saw one.

    According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff’s lawyer is Michael Shakman, best known as an anti-corruption attorney who took on Daley I and Daley II over patronage hiring practices and won a victory for the politically unconnected. I wonder who Shakman has in his sights now?

    Here is some advice for all you knuckleheads at U of I with Ph.D. degrees:

    1 – Fire your lawyer. This case should never have seen the light of day. Discrimination against veterans has no upside.
    2 – Fire the morons responsible for creating this mess and covering it up. Do it publicly and loud.
    3 – Don’t leave paper trails of wrongdoing. Most people disagree with the war but support the troops and the veterans.
    4 – Next time you screw up, just apologize, face the music quickly, and promise to do better. People forgive honest mistakes, not fraud and coverups.
    5 – Apologize to the veterans and reinstate the scholarship program. If you do insist on screwing veterans again for some insane reason, for god’s sake, do NOT put it in writing.

    The documents in this case can be obtained from Court of Claims, 630 S. College Street, Springfield, IL 62704. The case number is 07 CC 1856. If you want to understand the kind of institutional bias and discrimination that veterans face in real life, this is a textbook case. But go read for yourself and make up your own mind.

  5. Here are all the recent articles on the U of I Scholarship scandal.

    Associated Press: h*t*t*p://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/03/apvetscholarship070312/

    ABC News: h*t*t*p://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=investigative&id=4924607

    Christian Science Monitor: h*t*t*p://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0417/p01s02-legn.html

    Daily Illini Part I:
    h*t*t*p://media.www.dailyillini.com/media/storage/paper736/news/2007/03/07/News/Investigative.Report.Scholarships.Fall.Short-2761318.shtml

    Daily Illini Part II:
    h*t*t*p://media.www.dailyillini.com/media/storage/paper736/news/2007/03/06/News/Investigative.Report.Mba.Admissions.Process.Questioned-2759535.shtml

    Daily Illini University Response:
    h*t*t*p://media.www.dailyillini.com/media/storage/paper736/news/2007/03/07/Letters/University.Disputes.Report-2761478.shtml

    Blog 1: h*t*t*p://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_02_01_archive.html#984910302326183139

    Blog 2: h*t*t*p://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html#748390460444581746

    Blog 3: h*t*t*p://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html#6193164541294611316

  6. I attended the hearing last week on this case. The U of I’s own lawyer admitted in open court that the Office of Executive Inspector General was still investigating U of I. This is almost a year and a half of investigation.

    I hope for the vets’ sakes that this mess gets cleaned up and U of I is held accountable.

    Apparently the idiot who engineered this debacle is on his way out. See article from Western Michigan University newspaper and the comment section which is really informative: http://www.westernherald.com/…/09/12/News/Former.Wmu.Presidential.Candidate.Caught.In.Scandal-2962192

  7. According to the Champaign News-Gazette, Avijit Ghosh, the disgraced former dean of the College of Business at University of Illinois in Champaign, got a new job at U of I courtesy of his old friend Joseph White. Ghosh headed up the presidential search committee that got White his job as President of U of I. This is not a Starbucks barista salary – Ghosh gets 339 thousand bucks per year – a decent return on investment for masterminding the veteran scholarship scandal and betraying the public trust. The new job Ghosh gets lets him run technology, economic development and a venture capital company for Springfield, UIC and Champaign campuses. Not a bad gig for someone with a degree in GEOGRAPHY. Sort of like nominating a plumber to run Citibank.

    Give me a double shot corruption espresso this morning. On second thought, maybe President White should recommend Ghosh for a patronage job in the 11th ward. Ghosh has the skills.

    The timing could not be better for Ghosh, who has been interviewing without success for jobs around the world. He recently interviewed at Western Michigan University, did not get it, and went to India while the Illinois Inspector General continued its investigation of discrimination against veterans. Good thing Ghosh landed in India, too, since those jarheads Ghosh does not think are smart enough for University of Illinois do not vacation in India very often.

    Ghosh is fortunate to get 339K of taxpayer-funded salary, but I doubt luck had much to do with it. It pays to have friends in high places like University of Illinois President Joseph White who got help from Ghosh when he headed up the presidential search committee. So while Ghosh continues interviewing for jobs outside University of Illinois, it is comforting for Illinois taxpayers to know that Joseph White subscribes to the Daley-Stroger-Ryan rules of political patronage. Loyalty has its rewards. We should all be so lucky.

    Discriminate against veterans, rig admissions standards to kick them out, get caught, and then find a new job courtesy of a friend you helped get a job. Maybe the Inspector General should give President White a call next.

    What a priceless lesson in ethics from the ivory tower.

  8. I read over at Marathon Pundit about University of Illinois trying to pay off the guy who blew the whistle with $50,000 hush money. OMG. Can this story get any sicker?

    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/marathonpundit/3779337378901194631/

    Did I read that right? 50 grand in hush money? Guess the payoff didn’t work so well.

    U of I is our state’s flagship university. This veteran scholarship scam stinks to high heaven. After reading about it, here is what I want to know.

    1. Yes or No question: Is discrimination illegal? If the answer is Yes, where are our public officials who are supposed to be standing by our soldiers and veterans? Does that slogan “Support the Troops” have any teeth or not?

    2. Does anyone go to jail for trying to coverup discrimination with a $50,000 payoff? Maybe this explains why the Illinois Inspector General is still investigating U of I a year after it happened? Are there civil rights or discrimination issues that belong at the federal level?

    3. How does a major school like U of I get away with discriminating against ANY group of individuals in admissions? Can a school change admissions procedures after people apply just to target them and kick them out? Does U of I discriminate against other groups? I wonder if this is going on at the undergraduate level, too. I mean, it is one thing to increase the number of foreign students at U of I and exclude Illinois residents. It’s another thing to ADVERTISE for military veterans and then yank the rug out from underneath them after they got admitted!

    4. Whoever called the vets a bunch of jarheads needs to be fired immediately. What if the slur was aimed at women, blacks, Indians, Jews or Hispanics?

    5. Where is US Congressman Rahm Emanuel Lt. Governor Quinn on this issue? They both supported this program. I read that U of I Dean Avijit Ghosh wrote to Quinn in July of last year bragging about giving out 61 scholarships when in fact only 35 were given after tons of public pressure. U of I Public Relations idiot Robin Kaler bragged to ABC News that over 70 were given. Based on later statements by U of I that there was room for only 60 people in one class, somebody’s lying. U of I used Lt. Governor Quinn to announce this scholarship scam for vets on many occasions. What’s his position?

    6. The conflict of interest between Joe White, U of I’s President and former b-school dean at Michigan, with Avijit Ghosh is sick stuff. I read that White swept the internal investigation under the rug since Ghosh led the Presidential Search Committee that got him his $500,000 a year job. Isn’t this the same as a kickback?

    7. Why in the world is Sylvia Manning at UIC involved in this? Is there some pissing match going on between Circle Campus and Champaign? Where the hell is Richard Herman in all of this?

    8. I heard the Board of Trustees got several complaint letters from senators, congressmen and veterans after the scam was exposed. What did they know, when did they know it and why haven’t they done anything about it?

    9. I read that David Ikenberry is STILL employed at U of I’s College of Business and got promoted to Associate Dean. This guy denied any knowledge of the vet scam but was exposed for lying about it with his own emails. Does this guy get a pass just because his dad used to be U of I’s President?

    10. The vet scam was funded in large measure by the Illinois Veteran Grant which, according to state law, requires participating schools to pick up any shortfall if IVG does not have enough funds to pay for the exorbitant tuition rates. Did U of I violate state law by kicking veterans out who were going to get IVG funding in order to avoid paying the difference?

  9. Way to go, University of Illinois. Now you have Illinois Lt. Governor Pat Quinn after you.

    I’ve read many protests about this issue at University of Illinois Lt. Governor Quinn raised this week http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=85253&src=109. Essentially U of I just changed its mind because it thought “too many jarheads” would be bad for business. This is an unfortunate case study in discrimination in higher education. With the troops coming home soon, it makes sense to confront the issue now rather than later.

    Quinn is torqued because they promised 110 vet-soldier scholarships last year, used him personally to announce the program in public at a lunch in front of hundreds of people in Chicago and Champaign and then tried to cut it back to 15. I heard Quinn caught Ghosh in the act rejecting more vets a second time after Ghosh promised he’d make good on his promise. I wonder what else Quinn has on these idiots.

    Of course U of I denied the jarhead slur, but I’ve seen emails from an Associate Dean Larry DeBrock calling faculty high priced hookers who would be “praised as soldiers” if they brought in enough money. The Inspector General has been investigating in Champaign for over a year. My question is why it’s taking so long.

    The issue beyond the scholarships is how U of I deliberately changed admissions standards and application deadlines just for veterans, not everybody, and forged the Chicago Dean’s signature on a letter sent to vets before canning him. Basically these morons made applications deadlines shorter for veterans and active duty soldiers serving overseas by looking at the admissions database and reverse-engineering deadlines for transcripts, support letters, deposit payments and stuff like that. That’s really sick and that goes way beyond whether they promised 110, 510 or 10 scholarships.

    Discrimination is discrimination. Doesn’t matter if you are white, black, male, female, liberal or conservative. I say root it out perpetrators and send them on their merry way.

  10. Students get kicked out of school for cheating. What happens when the higher ups discriminate on the basis of a person’s affiliation with the US Military?

    I wonder what Quinn will do when he finds out veterans were told this program was full while U of I was inviting civilians to take their place and holding public marketing events to recruit full-paying civilians.

    What kind of a sick bait and switch was this? It should be pretty easy for Quinn to find out where these meetings took place and then who got into the program after vets were told the program was full.

  11. Are Joe White, Avijit Ghosh and the Board of Trustees just Champaign’s version of the Howard Hunt, Donald Segretti and the Committee to Re-elect?

    What a shocking reminder of the trickle-down effect of corruption, coverup and political kickbacks in our state. Call soldiers jarheads and faculty high-priced hookers. Falsify admissions records, forge signatures on letters and lie to a US Congressman and Lt. Governor about it. I wonder who won’t have a chair when the music stops after the Inspector General and Lt. Gov. Quinn finish their investigation.

    It’s one thing for student to cheat. You don’t expect grown up administrators running a university to cheat. Guess a PhD doesn’t make you honest or smart. It will be very interesting to see when the Inspector General and Quinn report come out who knew about the discrimination scheme, when they knew and why they did nothing about it.

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